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By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2015 (Sacramento) – Nonprofit groups that help the poor are working to qualify the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act for the November 2016 ballot.  The Legislative Analyst has estimated that the measure could raise up to $7 billion by adding a property tax surcharge on properties worth $3 million or more.


 According to the Legislative Analyst’s analysis of the ballot measure, if approved by voters, property owners would pay an additional 0.3 percent on the portion of assessed values greater than $3 million and less than $5 million, 0.6 percent on the portion greater than $5 million and less than $10 million, and 0.8 percent on the portion above $10 million.

These assessed value thresholds would be adjusted annually for inflation. The Legislature, under certain conditions, could increase the specified surcharge percentages up to a maximum rate of 1 percent. This action would require the approval of two-thirds of the members of each house of the Legislature. 

The measure exempts property from the surcharge if 1) it is used exclusively as rental housing and 2) the average value of a housing unit is less than $2 million.

The measure deposits the revenues derived from the property tax surcharge in a new state fund, the Lifting Children and Families out of Poverty Fund. They money would be used to fund a variety of health, education and social services programs ranging from pre-school to job training to home-healthcare assistance.

The Sacramento Bee reports that major money has begun to flow into the effort to qualify the measure for the ballot.  On Christmas Eve, the Making Poverty History campaign committee reported a $700,000 donation from the Daughters of Charity Foundation, bringing to $900,000 the total contributed by the Los Angeles-based group, a Christian organization dedicated to serving the poor.

Other major donors to the measure are Los Angeles entrepreneur Joseph Sanberg, who has given $150,000; St. John’s Well Child and Family Center and the Youth Policy Institute, Inc., which each donated $50,000.

Supporters have until March 21st to collect 585,407 signatures needed to put the initiative on the November ballot.


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Tax the rich

What was that in a past election about Romney having the same tax rate as his secretary In the 1950's, the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans was 92% on income over $400,000. And what happened? We built infrastructure (which we need desperately now)l had a housing boom; and pumped up the middle class. That doesn't sound bad to me. A certain political party, which will remain nameless, has fought hard for tax cuts for the wealthy and their corporations. Many of our largest corporations that are making record profits, not only don't pay taxes, but also get subsidies from the government. We spend $59 Billion on Social Welfare Programs and $92 Billion on corporate subsidies. At the same time 1 in 8 San Diegians over the age of 60 is living in poverty and that number will double by 2030. Take GE. It's CEO, Jeff Immelt doubled his wages in 2014 to $37.2 mil. The tax code gives its special corporate discount and instead of paying the tax rate of 35%, they pay 13%. GE received billions of dollars in bailout money from taxpayers and averages 2-3 grants per month. At the same time they are going after retiree benefits and seeking concessions from its workers.. You know, I think we could squeeze a little bit more out in taxes from the wealthy. Maybe their yachts will be a foot shorter, but then millions of kids in the US won't have to go to bed hungry every night. PS What ever happened to that fraction of a penny on every transaction over the stock exchange going to taxes?

Willi-Many in need are old and ill.

I think you are out of touch with how safety nets have dissolved.

Don't you realize that a lot of people are poor simply because they are old and in poor health?

I know friends living hand to mouth who have severe disabilities; one is confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak or have full movement of her arms.  Another has extreme back pain and a degenerative muscle condition. Their disability benefits have been slashed and their cost of living has gone up.

Another has cancer and had heart bypass surgery. He applied for disability and they said since he's over 65, he's considered too old to work, so can't get anything!  Yet he can't do the construction work he once did. He's applied for many other jobs but nobody wants to hire a 67 year old guy with heart problems and cancer.  Also his tools were stolen, so now he can't even do painting or carpentry work as he once did.  His heart medications alone cost almost his entire Social Security check and he often skips doses, very dangerous, because he can't afford refills.  They did away with foodstamps and now give recipients a card that can be spent on other things, trouble is it gets spent on medication and his truck payment, and he has nothing left for food by mid-month. Many times I've bought him food just so he won't starve. this is so wrong -- someone who worked hard his whole life shouldn't be left destitute because of medical conditions in what should be his retirement years.

Seems to me if people are too old, ill, or disabled to work, or can't find work because nobody will hire them due to such conditions, we should take care of our elders and the disabled, not have such a cold and callous attitude. The Indians revere their elders and care for them, while our society discards them and leaves them to be stressed and alone in their senior years.  Two of these people, my friends, are one step away from being homeless- on the streets due to their desperate circumstances.

San Diego has among the highest cost of living of anyplace in America, with high costs for rent/housing even in substandard living conditions, the highest utility costs in the nation, and among the highest gasoline costs in the nation, too, making things even harder for people who are just struggling to survive.

Anyone living in a $3 million house can certainly afford between .03 and .08 percent to help those at risk of dying due to our society neglecting those in need.  I used to write about luxury homes.  I saw people with gold-plated bathroom fixtures and mink bedspreads, luxury cars and museum-quality artwork on their walls.  I do believe if you've been that successful, giving such a tiny amount back back to help those in need, particularly seniors and the disabled is the right and decent thing to do. 

I haven't even touched on the struggles facing young families, single parents with young children, those laid off from jobs, or others in often dire need. 






Tax the rich to help the poor

- and so it goes for California. If this measure passes, most likely a good chunk will go to setup and administrative costs. If the poor need assistance, then they need to step up and give back a little to earn their assistance. Of course all this should begin with drug testing - but that will never happen. The more you give, the more they take - and they come to expect it.